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CTA Proposes 25-Cent Fare Hike For 2018; No Service Cuts

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For the first time in eight years, the CTA plans to increase fares to help balance its budget, but the transit agency is not proposing any service cuts.

Fares for buses and trains would go up 25 cents each, and the cost of monthly passes would go up $5.

According to the CTA's budget proposal for next year, bus fares with a Ventra card would go up from $2.00 to $2.25. Cash fares would go up from $2.25 to $2.50. Train fares also would go up from $2.25 to $2.50. A 30-day unlimited ride pass would go up from $100 to $105.

Transfers; single-ride tickets; 1-day, 3-day, and 7-day passes; and Metra Link-Up tickets would remain unchanged. The cost of catching the Blue Line at O'Hare International Airport also would remain at $5.

The CTA did not propose any cuts to its service in 2018.

The CTA Board must vote on the budget proposal at its Dec. 13 meeting. If approved, the fare hikes would go into effect Jan. 7.

Dorval Carter, CTA President, is blaming the state for the hikes.

"Raising fares is always an option of last resort, and it's a decision that we do not take lightly. We don't want to do this, but the state cuts have left us with no other option," he said.

The Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees finances for all three Chicago area mass transit agencies, had urged CTA to increase fares to offset a lack of state funding.

"We know moves like this are never popular, but the RTA feels they are necessary in today's environment. We applaud CTA for making this difficult but necessary action," RTA spokeswoman Susan Bisno Massel said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and several aldermen also have said they would support a fare hike, but have said service cuts would be a non-starter.

A public hearing on the CTA budget plan has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Dec. 12, at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake St.

The CTA last increased its fares in 2009, when bus fares went up from $1.75 to $2, and train fares went up from $2 to $2.25. Four years later, the CTA increased the cost of its daily, three-day, seven-day and 30-day passes, and introduced the higher fare for hopping on the Blue Line at O'Hare, although basic fares remained unchanged.

CTA's plan to increase fares next year comes on the heels of fare hikes at Metra and Pace.

Metra will raise ticket prices next year on One-Way tickets by 25 cents in all zones, Monthly Passes will increase from $9.00 to $12.50 and 10-Ride tickets will jump from $4.25 to $7.75. Both classifications will depend on the zone. Weekend Passes go up from $8.00 to $10.00.

Pace, which mostly serves the suburbs, has approved raising its bus fares from $1.75 to $2 next year.

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